Heavy gunfire was reported in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Monday as Free Syrian Army rebels attacks positions held by security forces.
Al-Mezze, the site of the much of the fighting, is among the most heavily guarded areas of the city and home to embassies and several secret police installations.
"There is fighting near Hamada supermarket and the sound of explosions there and elsewhere in the neighborhood. Security police have blocked several side streets and the street lighting has been cut off," a resident told news agency Reuters.
On Sunday, Syria was hit by a third deadly car bomb in two days, this time in the northern city of Aleppo. Three people were reported killed and at least 25 others injured, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A day earlier, two car bombs exploded in Damascus, killing 27 people and wounding 140 others.
The under-fire government of President Bashar al-Assad blamed the attacks on "terrorist" groups, while rebels and the opposition said the bombings had been orchestrated by the regime.
Russia supports Annan
Meanwhile, Russia has come out in support of efforts by UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, to foster peace. Annan is sending a delegation to Syria to negotiate a possible new observer mission.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state television in an interview on Saturday that "the Syrian government should quickly, without delay, support [Annan's] approaches."
In remarks unusually critical of its longtime ally, Lavrov said Russia disagreed with many of the decisions taken by Assad as his government tries to put down a year-long uprising.
"I repeat, we do not support the Syrian government. We support the need to start a political process. To do that it is first necessary to ceasefire," Lavrov said.
dfm/ccp (Reuters, AP)